Iranian-Kurdish Activist Sentenced to Death Says He Was Wrongfully Convicted of Drawing a Weapon
Iranian-Kurdish political activist Ramin Hossein Panahi will appeal the death sentence he was issued on January 25, 2018, by Branch 1 of the Revolutionary Court in Sanandaj, the capital of Iran’s Kurdistan Province.
In an interview with the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI), his attorney, Hossein Ahmadiniaz, said Panahi was wrongfully convicted of being a member of the outlawed Komala Party of Iranian Kurdistan, and for drawing his weapon.
“My client intends to appeal the sentence within the 20-day legal limit. He is innocent. He is a dissident; a political activist but he did not participate in any armed action nor did he reach for a weapon,” said Ahmadiniaz. “Therefore, he cannot be charged and convicted of reaching for a weapon and engaging in armed combat.”
“My client does not deserve this sentence,” he added. “I hope that during the appeal process we will be able to defend him and he will be shown mercy.”
Panahi was arrested in June 2017 after several men accused of being Komala members were ambushed in the city of Sanandaj by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). Sabah Hossein Panahi, Hamed Seif Panahi and Behzad Nouri died in the attack. Ramin Hossein Panahi survived bullet wounds to the stomach, back and legs.
According to his lawyer, Panahi has been charged with “corruption on earth” under Article 286 of Iran’s Islamic Penal Code, which states:
“Any person, who extensively commits felony against the bodily entity of people, offenses against the internal or international security of the state, spreading lies, disruption of the economic system of the state, arson and destruction of properties, distribution of poisonous and bacterial and dangerous materials, and establishment of, or aiding and abetting in, places of corruption and prostitution, [on a scale] that causes severe disruption in the public order of the state and insecurity, or causes harsh damage to the bodily entity of people or public or private properties, or causes distribution of corruption and prostitution on a large scale, shall be considered as mofsed-e-fel-arz [corrupt on earth] and shall be sentenced to death.”
Article 287 lists capital punishment as a sentence for drawing a weapon as a member of an armed rebel group, “Any group that wages armed rebellion against the state of the Islamic Republic of Iran shall be regarded as moharebs, and if they use [their] weapon, its members shall be sentenced to the death penalty.”
Article 279 defines a “mohareb” as someone who draws “a weapon on the life, property or chastity of people or to cause terror as it creates the atmosphere of insecurity.”